15th August 2018

Illuminated Manuscripts

“The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the Lord will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.”
Isaiah 60:19 (NIV)

‘An illuminated manuscript is always more than a book’ enthused the literary expert. The location was the British Library and the subject matter was the Lindisfarne Gospels. They were produced around the year 700 in a monastery off the coast of Northumberland at Lindisfarne. The manuscript is one of the finest works in the unique style of Hiberno-Saxon or Insular art, combining Mediterranean, Anglo-Saxon and Celtic elements.

These “illuminated” manuscripts were so called because of their frequent incorporation of gold or sometimes silver leaf onto the page. Illumination comes from the Latin word ‘illuminare’, meaning “light up,” and when one sees one of these brilliant manuscripts in person, the term makes sense.[i]  These precious documents are beautiful testimonies of faith and endurance that monks and scribes worked long hours painstakingly recording and illustrating for future generations. Thanks to the courage and dedication of later Christians, these illuminated manuscripts were rescued from Viking invaders and iconoclasts – preserved for us today to appreciate.

The expert’s statement caused me to remember Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” God’s word shines in a world of darkness, it guides us in our daily lives. In John 1:1 we learn that the Word is in fact Jesus Christ – it is He who is the Light of this world (John 8:12). It is He who will finally bring light to this world of sinful shadows.

Whilst we can join with the expert and appreciate the artistry and excellence of these ancient documents, as Christians we need to have a greater understanding of how God’s word illuminates our lives. Let us accept the prophet Isaiah’s invitation and walk in this wonderful light “Come, descendants of Jacob, let us walk in the light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:5).

Loving Father, thank you for preserving your word for us today. We are blessed above measure to have the illumination of your Word. Holy Spirit help us to walk in this light.

Study by Irene Wilson


About the Author:
Irene Wilson is a Deaconess in the Watford Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, part of Grace Communion International, where she also serves on the Pastoral Council.

Local Congregation:
Worldwide Church of God Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts.
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george.sueann.henderson49@gmail.com

[i] www.illuminatedpage.com/history.html

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